A GATHERING OF SHADOWS
Series: Shades of Magic #2
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publisher: Tor Books
Release date: February 23rd 2016
It has been four months since a mysterious obsidian stone fell into Kell’s possession. Four months since his path crossed with Delilah Bard. Four months since Prince Rhy was wounded, and since the nefarious Dane twins of White London fell, and four months since the stone was cast with Holland’s dying body through the rift–back into Black London.
Now, restless after having given up his smuggling habit, Kell is visited by dreams of ominous magical events, waking only to think of Lila, who disappeared from the docks as she always meant to do. As Red London finalizes preparations for the Element Games–an extravagant international competition of magic meant to entertain and keep healthy the ties between neighboring countries–a certain pirate ship draws closer, carrying old friends back into port.
And while Red London is caught up in the pageantry and thrills of the Games, another London is coming back to life. After all, a shadow that was gone in the night will reappear in the morning. But the balance of magic is ever perilous, and for one city to flourish, another London must fall.
“Everyone’s immortal until they’re not.”
A Gathering of Shadows is a good second installment to the Shades of Magic series. It introduces new POV characters (yay!), expands on the great world-building, gives us more information on the whole magic thing, and delivers more twists and turns that mess you up. Sadly, the story drags because of the slow pace, there’s very little character development, and the magical tournament is just… meh.
V. E. Schwab is a great writer. She has a gift when it comes to words, and her writing shines through in this novel. The book continues to introduce some pretty cool and unique concepts, as well as present us with diverse characters. A book isn’t made of only good ideas, though, and that’s where AGOS falls a little flat for me.
This is where the hype train crashes. I heard from pretty much everyone that this book was waaaaay better than the first one, but it didn’t feel like that for me. The pace is a big part of why I didn’t enjoy this as much as ADSOM. The first half just drags on and on, with only a few chapters picking up the pace or giving us tense/engrossing scenes.
I’m also really really not a fan of tournaments/games/contests/competitions/whatever. This brought down my enjoyment a little.
The characters are all still mostly interesting to read about. I am extremely happy to say we get new character POVs in this novel. This really enriched the story for me. I loved seeing everyone’s perspectives, and all the little glimpses of their worlds. Some characters still continue to hurt me, especially since circumstances are a lot different this time, but it’s just really a delight to get inside their heads. 😀
Once again, I did have a some trouble with Lila. Her bravery won me over in the last book, and I was super excited to read about her new adventures. I was disappointed when she appeared to be just as reckless and careless as ever in AGOS. It is very difficult to connect to/like her when she keeps making dumb decisions just because she’s arrogant and ambitious.
The stakes are higher in this installment, which make for some great scenes. The last few chapters, specially, are amazing. It really brings the story together, and gives us a twist and cliffhanger that leave you wanting more. It is very much the consequences coming to bite people in the ass, and I loved and was hurt by every single word of it.
In the end, A Gathering of Shadows is an okay book. It is entertaining despite its slow pace, and delivers some engaging action scenes. The new POV characters are amazing, and they highlight all that is best about this series.